Article and photo by Lesley Wimbush
Reid Bigland is a busy man. A long-time executive with Chrysler, now Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), Bigland now holds three senior management positions within the company.
In addition to being to being the President and CEO of FCA Canada, a position he has held since 2006, Bigland is also the Senior Vice President of U.S. Sales, FCA North America, and was recently chosen to head up the rebirth of the Alfa Romeo Brand here in North America.
We caught up with him at the recent Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto and peppered him with some questions, both professional and personal.
Lesley Wimbush (LW): Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule for us. Okay – a little bit of background. You’re Canadian?
Reid Bigland (RB): Yes I am. In fact I’m a dual citizen, but I was born in Canada. I still cheer for Team Canada. I was born in Kamloops B.C., but I grew up in Toronto, near Thornhill.
LW: And what about school? What area of studies led you to where you are today?
RB: Not a lot in school. I got a degree in Economics from the University of B.C., while I was going to university, I worked for Canadian Airlines. I worked full-time and went to university full-time. I’ve always had the attitude – and still do – that you just do the best that you can in whatever job that you’re in and the opportunities have a tendency to take care of themselves.
If you would have asked me 20 or 30 years ago as I was slinging bags, trying to work my way through university, that I would end up working for Chrysler Canada, and between Canada and the U.S. – I’d say you’re probably crazy.
Spent ten years in the airline industry, worked my way up there and into the heavy duty trucking industry with Western Star Trucks – which was acquired by Freightliner, which is Daimler Trucks North America.
A lot of different roles within the heavy duty truck organization and moved all over; Vancouver, Kelowna, Portland, Cleveland, Charlotte, and up to Detroit. And here I am.
LW: Here you are, indeed.
RB: Been in the Canada role for almost ten years, since 2006, then a little bit of an expansion of my responsibilities about four years ago into the U.S. sales role.
LW: You do wear a number of hats.
RB: Yeah, that’s Sergio’s thing – he wears a number of hats and there’s a few of us within the organization that wear a few hats.